Sunday, September 3, 2017

Labor Day for Hurricane Harvey: Disaster Capitalism vs. Working Class rescue

Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.   Franklin D. Roosevelt

Alas it is hurricane and disaster season again which means there will be horrendous suffering for people and tremendous profits for Disaster Capitalists, both brought on by a bought-and-paid for congress who cares nothing about America’s people.  Disaster Capitalists are lining up at the trough for Hurricane Harvey just like they did during Katrina, Rita, Deep Water Horizon and Sandy.  What is different now?  Well the election of Donald J. Trump as president by the working people. 

Trump was elected by the working people, for the working people.  While the usual suspects convene meetings and argue about financing and whether or not the government should help, how much should they help and who pays, the working people descended on Houston to save their brothers and sisters.   Using their own equipment at their own expense to save the people of Houston these everyday heroes put FEMA and the non-profits (?) to shame.  From World Socialist Website:


The working class responds to Hurricane Harvey

The flooding, however, has produced an overwhelming response from workers in Texas and throughout the region, who have rushed to volunteer for rescue operations, using their own equipment and receiving nothing in return.

The New York Times, which generally refers to the working class only to disparage it, wrote on Wednesday that “the response to one of the worst disasters in decades has been, in many ways, improvised.” The article continued: “Recreational vehicles—airboats, Jet Skis, motorized fishing boats—have rushed to the aid of people trapped in their homes, steered by welders, roofers, mechanics and fishermen wearing shorts, headlamps and ponchos. The working class, in large part, is being saved by the working class…”

As always, it is the working class and poor, of all races and ethnicities, that are the hardest hit. It is they who are either without insurance or face insurance companies that refuse to cover damages. It is they who will see the media and ruling class politicians depart as the flood waters recede and the major industries resume operations…

At the same time, the response of workers to the hurricane expresses a basic class consciousness and solidarity that the ruling class works so hard to undermine. Contrary to the claims—promoted in particular by the Democratic Party—that American society is riven by racial hatred, the emergency operations have involved white, black and Hispanic workers on both sides—in the boats and in the stranded houses…

If workers had been involved in decisions over how to allocate resources, the level of preparation for the hurricane itself would have been far more advanced. Trillions of dollars would be allocated not to bailing out Wall Street and financing the American military machine, but to building social infrastructure. The flooding, after all, was neither unforeseeable nor unforeseen—it was just not planned for.

The case for socialism—and inextricably bound up with this, economic planning—is made not by utopian dreams, but by the concrete demands of social development

In every aspect of social life, the working class must take matters into its own hands, through the organization of workers’ committees in factories, workplaces and neighborhoods to assume control over the production and distribution of resources. These organizations must begin with the needs of the working class and be democratically controlled by the working class.

They must take ever greater responsibility for unifying workers and organizing their common struggles against the capitalist class and its political representatives.  The establishment of genuine democratic control over production and economic organization is the necessary basis for the development of a rational plan to replace the anarchy of the market and ensure that all decisions are based on social need.

Yeah no kidding, “If workers had been involved in decisions over how to allocate resources, the level of preparation for the hurricane itself would have been far more advanced and trillions of dollars would be allocated not to bailing out Wall Street and financing the American military machine, but to building social infrastructure.”  The last thing the Disaster Capitalists care about when making decisions is “social need.”

First of all, Houston was a disaster waiting to happen.  Many attempts, one most recently by Rep. Al Green of Texas, to appropriate funds to mitigate the flooding danger in Houston have been met with deaf ears while the Pentagon is engorged with unaccountable trillions of tax dollars.  Disaster Capitalists are firmly in control of congress.  From LaRouchepac:


No More Houstons: Lyndon LaRouche Says What Must Happen “Right Now”

The catastrophe in Texas is a man-made disaster accomplished by the criminal negligence of this nation’s elected officials, who have continued to support Wall Street’s speculative economy and imperial ambitions while arguing that the nation cannot afford to rebuild and replace its ancient and broken-down economic infrastructure.

For the third time since 2005, major American cities have been flooded and their people devastated, because the plans for new infrastructure to protect the people, requiring tens of billions in investments, have been ignored and turned down. Hurricane Harvey now looms as the worst national disaster in our nation’s history and it is a disaster which did not have to happen.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina killed nearly 2,000 people and wreaked $130 billion in economic losses. Only then, slowly, new flood-control and seagate infrastructure was built—at last—for New Orleans, at a fraction of the human and monetary costs of the damage inflicted by the storm. How many unnecessary deaths and suffering could this project have averted?

Four years later, the American Society of Civil Engineers met in Manhattan to discuss several storm surge barrier options for the New York City region. The estimate for the largest of these was $9 billion. The government decided to do nothing. Then, in 2012 Superstorm Sandy killed more than 100 people and caused $65 billion in economic losses.

New York area residents now are going through a "Summer of Hell" as the 100-year-old regional transportation system, flooded and damaged five years ago, also was not repaired or replaced at the necessary pace…  Plans for a new system for the Houston area had been drafted, but their $25 billion cost was deemed "too high" a price tag  for our Wall Street–dominated agencies and elected officials. Now, hundreds of billions of dollars, and priceless human lives, are lost…

Wall Street, which has been bailed out repeatedly to the tune of trillions of dollars, with nothing but increased impoverishment of the American people to  show for it, must no longer be allowed to dictate the economic policy of the United States of America.

If there is one thing that the working people know for sure it is that our so called “elected” official don’t give a rip about us.  They are too busy trying to please their Wall Street overlords, whose indifference and neglect cause these disasters to start with and then profit off of misery.  And what do every day Americans have to show for our trillion dollar bail out of congress’ financial backers?  The “increased impoverishment of the American people to that is what the politicians have to offer.

The Deep State’s stoking of racial tension that we’ve seen since Charlottesville is all but forgotten as the White Nationalists and the Antifa show the world they are Americans first.  From Truth-Out:


Antifa and Leftists Organize Mutual Aid and Rescue Networks in Houston

"It's been a hell of a few days," says Andrew Cobb, whose house in Houston's Fifth Ward was spared the brunt of Hurricane Harvey's flood waters. His decentralized, grassroots relief effort called the "West Street Response Team" started with a simple scouting mission to a nearby flood plain across Highway 59 on Sunday.

After he and his roommates arrived at the location, they began coordinating with neighbors from the area on social media to find specific addresses of people needing rescue. They paddled more than two miles out in an inflatable kayak to make their first rescue of a mother and son, who they brought back to their own home to shelter for a few days.

"We posted about that and there was just a huge response, with some videos from that. And so, people were like, 'What can we do? What's up?' And I was like, 'We need boats. We need trucks. We need to get out there, and ... people just responded in a big way…"

Cobb is just one of many Texans braving Houston's rapids from sun-up to sun-down to organize decentralized rescues in the early days of Hurricane Harvey's devastation… His work providing homeless people with food via Food Not Bombs has amplified his disgust for the journalists and city officials ridiculing Houstonians for providing for themselves during a time of crisis.

"Calling it 'looting' is just such an absurdity when you have no food in the neighborhood. So, people were getting what they need, but we were hearing that supplies were limited, and the closest real grocery store was Fiesta, and there was a four-hour line to get in," Cobb says. "It's a food desert in normal times, and right now it's even more so."

According to Scott Crow, anarchist, author and cofounder of the decentralized Common Ground Collective that provided relief and aid to those most in need almost exactly 12 years ago during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, grassroots distribution centers and clinics for Harvey victims are already cropping up.

Moreover, he says, a lot of people in antifascist networks have acted as first responders, including activists with groups focusing on rural areas like the anarchist-inspired Red Neck Revolt, who are working to build distribution centers in Houston's Third and Fifth Ward

Organizers with Austin Common Ground Relief, who helped build the original Common Ground Collective in New Orleans, went into Houston with boats this week to bring in gasoline, water, food and other supplies, and are currently coordinating more volunteers each day…  "Disasters show us the failures of government and large entities like the Red Cross every time. ... It creates a crisis, and what you see is, the government cannot fill the void."

In Houston, that void is not just being filled by radicals like Cobb, but hundreds of everyday Houstonians conducting search-and-rescue missions using personal boats and kayaks…  One of those anarchist groups is Houston's Anarchist Black Cross (ABC), whose members have been acting as first responders, and working to share resources and information.

ABC has also been leading a "call-in" drive to prisons and jails on behalf of prisoners and families affected by Harvey, including those from county jails that have not been evacuated… Still Cobb says he's been amazed to witness the compassion and strength of his neighbors and of average Houstonians amid the ongoing crisis.

Really??  What do we need our government of Wall Street toadies for?  Why pay taxes if the money is spent on wars of aggression and plunder leaving nothing for the American people.  It’s time to stop all the wars of aggression and begin to heal America.  It’s time to “Make America Great Again” and build up our infrastructure.  But already the Disaster Capitalists on Wall Street are devising a way to force the working people to pay for damages and leave Wall Street vultures unscathed.  From World Socialist Website:


Who will pay for the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey?

It is the poor and working class who will be the hardest hit. More than 80 percent of homeowners in the region most severely impacted by the hurricane do not have flood insurance, meaning they will be left to rebuild with inadequate loans from various federal agencies, if they are able to get even these…

The American ruling class, riven by deep internal divisions over foreign policy, confronts an economic system built on massive speculative bubbles and an increasingly angry and hostile working class.

Over the past week, the American media and political establishment have organized their forces to perform a well-choreographed political theater, combining hypocritical and insincere commentary on the “tragedy” of Hurricane Harvey, with the deliberate avoidance of any discussion on who is responsible and what must be done. The aim is to somehow prevent workers from drawing the necessary conclusion: that the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey is a crime of capitalism, for which the American ruling class is to blame…

No plan was in place for an orderly evacuation of the region in the event of a disaster, even though the region is prone to hurricanes.

Adequate preparation would require a level of planning and foresight of which the ruling elite is incapable. For the past forty years, under both Democrats and Republicans, it has engaged in a single-minded policy of upward wealth redistribution, corporate deregulation, and financial speculation…

Even before the waters have receded, the main concern of the political representatives of the ruling elite is to make sure that those responsible for the catastrophe will not have to pay for it…

One way or another, the ruling class will force workers to foot the bill…  The working class must advance its own program….  A multitrillion-dollar public works program must be initiated to rebuild the city and develop public infrastructure throughout the country.

To fund and implement such a program requires a frontal assault on the wealth and power of the corporate and financial elite.

The vast wealth created by the working class must be taken out of the hands of a privileged few and used to meet social need. The giant corporations and banks, which control the entire political system and dictate policy, must be transformed into public utilities, democratically controlled by the working class.

“The vast wealth created by the working class must be taken out of the hands of a privileged few and used to meet social need.”  Can anyone argue with that?  The billionaires of today did not make their wealth from building factories, from investing in risky ventures that create jobs, nor have they made their money from taking risks with their own money.  They made their wealth from theft, sometimes bankrupting entire nations.  They have no skin in the game, the game is rigged in their favor by the politicians they created. 

This Labor Day as the workers save Houston from the gross incompetence, graft and corruption of the Disaster Capitalists who are responsible for the unbelievable destruction of America, we have a chance for rebirth.  It is time for the working people of America to take back their country.  It is time to reclaim our wealth that has been stolen from us after the 2000 Banking/Military coup in America.  It’s time for the American worker to shed the Working Man’s Blues and unite against this Fascist imperial war mongering government that has enslaved us.

By Patricia Baeten

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